Saturday, 27 March 2010

Dr Who, WH 1212 and a dalekproof jacket

Matt Smith with Karen Gillan and that jacket

Just back from doing some very enjoyable early morning radio with the newspaper and Stornoway legend that is Angus MacLeod.

Angus,the Times man who reviews the Saturday papers for Radio Scotland's Newsweek, was proud today of how he had persuaded his paper to put the Harris Tweed brand on the front page next to the picture of the new Dr Who, Matt Smith.

I have to share some of the credit, I declared. The association between Harris Tweed and Dr Who goes back to a Whitehall 1212 entry last July when the first publicity shots of the new timelord were released.

When I saw Matt Smith sporting a bow tie and what was simply described in the publicity then as a "tweed jacket" I immediately contacted the BBC press office.

This jacket, I asked, was it the enduringly strong Harris Tweed jacket hand-woven in the Hebrides, beloved of crofters and aristocrats for generations and now the talk of fashion houses across the universe?

Was it the mythical Harris Tweed jacket worn by the heroic George Mallory on his unsuccessful 1924 attempt to climb Everest? Was it, in short, the genuine, timeless, Harris Tweed article?

The press office kind of got my drift. Er, yes, vintage Harris Tweed they replied.

Since then, if you read today's Times, the phone has been ringing off the hook at the Harris Tweed Authority with Whovians phoning up asking for a copy of the tweed look. I fully expect Tom Harris MP, Glasgow South, to be wearing one on the election trail.

I've no idea if it really is Harris Tweed or not but according to the Times Matt Smith’s tweed has been identified as a Mackenzie “two by two” dogtooth, probably produced in the 1960s.

The label shows it was first sold by Dunn & Co. and the costume designer has tracked down a similar weave in Savile Row and made up five reproduction jackets for stunt wear, leaving the original for special occasions.

To which I say, don't they know how tough a Harris Tweed jacket is? Not even a dalek could exterminate one.

With a tweed jacket and a Highland woman by his side (Karen Gillan is being allowed to use her own Inverness accent) - this new Doctor, he can't be defeated.

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